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Encyclopedia > Razor blade
This article is about the cutting device. For philosophical principles inspired by the razor, see Occam's Razor or Hanlon's razor.

A razor is a an edge tool (primarily, used in shaving).


Early razors

In its simplest form, a razor is a steel blade attached to a handle. Using a razor, the practice of removing body hair is a common method of depilation. A razor is most commonly used by men to shave their facial hair, sometimes all of their hair, and by women to shave their leg and underarm hair and, sometimes, pubic hair.

Straight razors (also called cut-throat razors) with open steel blades, now used chiefly by barbers, were the most common before the 20th century—and, in many countries, until the 1950s.

Nazirites were forbidden to use razors (Numbers 6:5; Judges 13:5). At the Levite's consecration they were shaved all over with a razor (Numbers 8:7; compare Psalm 52:2; Ezekiel 5:1).

Safety razor

Safety razor with three blades

The safety razor was developed in the mid-1800s. Early razor blades needed continuous sharpening, soon becoming worn out, making them expensive. The Kampfe Brothers developed a type of razor along these lines. The safety razor first developed in the United States by the Kampfe Brothers used a forged blade.

In 1903, the American inventor King Camp Gillette invented a safety razor with disposable blades. Gillette realized that a profit could be made by selling a safety razor at a reduced price and then making a nice profit margin on the inexpensive disposable blades. This has been called the Razor and blades business model, or a "loss leader". To realize his idea, Gillette founded the American Safety Razor Company on September 28, 1901. The company's name was changed in July 1902 to Gillette Safety Razor Company. Gillette's particular innovation for disposable safety razors (patent US775134) beat out competitors.

Gillette's thin blade was covered by the razor, thus protecting the skin against deep cuts. This enabled people to safely shave themselves for the first time. Plastic disposable razors and razors with replaceable blades, often with two or three cutting edges (but sometimes with four cutting edges), are in common use today.

Electric razor

The electric razor requires no soap or shaving cream.
Old electric shaver

The electric razor (also known as the electric dry shaver) is an electrical device with a rotating or oscillating blade also commonly used for shaving. The electric razor does not require or allow the use of shaving cream, soap, or water. It was invented in the 1930s by the American manufacturer Col. Jacob Schick. Remington Rand developed the electric razor. The Remington brand of razor was originally produced by a division of Remington Rand, starting in 1937.

Another imporant inventor was Prof. Alexandre Horowitz, from Philips laboratories in the Netherlands, who invented the very successful concept of the revolving electric razor. The electric razor is powered by a small motor, it has a shaving head consisting of cutters that cut off the hair entering the head of the razor at skin level. The motor is driven by AC current and usually has rechargeable batteries.

Other razors

A box cutter knife (often called a utility knife) is a common tool used in grocery stores and other places. Such a knife generally consists of a simple and cheap holder, typically flat, approximately one inch wide and three to four inches long, and typically made of either metal or plastic. Some use standard razor blades, others specialised double ended blades.

A potato peeler is a metal blade attached to a metal, plastic or wooden handle that is used for peeling vegetables, usually potatoes.

Razor wire is a mesh of metal strips with sharp edges whose purpose it is to prevent passage by human beings. Furthermore, razor wire is sharper than the barbs of barbed wire.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Urban Legends Reference Pages: Pins and Needles in Halloween Candy (781 words)
Halloween poisonings, many cases of tampered trick-or-treat loot involving the insertion of pins, needles, or razor blades have been documented.
Beginning in 1967 the focus of the legend shifted dramatically from poison to razors and sharp objects hidden in apples.
In another, the child said he found the blade while cutting out a rotten spot; in a third case, the razor was found when a child turned an apple over to his father for peeling.
Gillette unveils 5-bladed razor with two lubricating strips - Sep. 14, 2005 (728 words)
The move renews an ongoing blade battle with Schick, the shaving unit of Energerizer (Research), which launched a four-blade razor, the Quattro, last year.
Razors accounted for nearly half of the company's $2.8 billion net sales in its most recent quarter, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The razor and blade industry has annual sales of $2.4 billion in the U.S. and $10 billion globally, according to Gillette.
  More results at FactBites »



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